Argument Maps

Argument map

An Argument map is a visual representation of the structure of an argument in informal logic. It includes the components of an argument such as a main contention, premises, co-premises, objections, rebuttals and lemmas.

Argument Maps are often used in the teaching of reasoning and critical thinking, and can support the analysis of pros and cons when deliberating over wicked problems.


Argument and Heuristic Method

This approach in argument mapping seeks to enable research and analysis of naturalistic human decision making in real life contexts of risk and uncertainty. The techniques involved were first presented by Facione and Facione in Thinking and Reasoning in Human Decision Making: The Method of Argument and Heuristic Analysis (The California Academic Press, 2007). The book described the theory, technique, and application of what appeared to be a new analytical methodology.

The book outlined many argument mapping techniques. One of the techniques was how to construct decision maps from oral and textual expressions of individual or group decisions. A&H Method decision maps are meant to illustrate the combinination of reasons-claim argument strands as well as the influences of cognitive heuristics and psychological dominance structuring which emerge from those data.

Examples of argument maps

Argument Mapping Software

  • Argunet (open source, cross platform/java); supports collaboration over argument graphs
  • Argumentations (online collaborative argument mapping); supports textual argument representation
  • Araucaria (open source, cross platform/java)
  • Argumentative (open source, windows); supports single-user, graphical argumentation
  • Athena (free for non-commercial use, windows and perhaps Linux and Mac)
  • bCisive (commercial, Windows); supports reasoning and decision making by mapping decision problems, options and arguments.
  • Carneades (open source, cross platform/java fx); Argument mapping and evaluation, using proof standards; XML argument exchange
  • Compendium: designed to support deliberation over issues, ideas and arguments in Wicked problems. Provides visual templates for Argumentation Schemes (free source, cross platform/java)
  • Reason!Able (commercial, Windows), superseded by Rationale
  • Rationale (commercial, Windows); supports simple "Reasoning" maps and more advanced "Analysis" maps
  • online collaborative, textual argument mapping (with advertisements!)
  • (free, creative commons); online collaborative debate and argument mapping in text
  • VUE (open source, desktop app, windows, mac and linux support); more a multi-media graph construction tool than a kit to represent formal argument

See also

Further reading

  • Facione, P. and Facione N. (2007). Thinking and Reasoning in Human Decision Making: The Method of Argument and Heuristic Analysis.

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